How To Be Your Own Number One Dream Client

06-Dec-2013

There’s a misconception among creatives who daydream about working for themselves (and truth be told among freelancers and creative entrepreneurs who aren’t just dreaming about it anymore, but actually doing it) that when you quit your day job, it’s a given you’ll get to be your own boss. When the more common back-to-earth reality is, you simply end up trading in one boss, for lots of bosses – each and every one of your clients. Managing all those expectations, personalities, and deadlines can be a super slippery slope that sends you into a vicious cycle of reactive order-taking. And it can feel anything but dreamy. 

First off, let me say, having lots of clients feels great and is not only a huge confidence boost to any solo business, but it’s how many of us define having “made it.” But it’s when you get frustrated over and over again, because the experience of working with these clients isn’t quite fitting into your vision, that you can feel out of control and give up. So we have lots of strategies and tips for attracting dream customers and keeping them from turning into clients from hell in our Braid ECourse: Dream Customer Catching. 

But today what I really want to talk about is being your own number one dream customer. To really “make it” as a creative entrepreneur, it’s going to take more than sustaining yourself financially, but sustaining this vision you had for yourself – or it’s just not worth it, right?  So here are some ways to produce more than just the work you do for your clients, but invest time and resources into growing your own business: 

MAKE TIME

1. MAKE TIME
A lot of creatives are so busy servicing their clients that they don’t have a lot of time to work on their own projects, branding, or processes. We get it. But the secret is you never “have” time. You’ve gotta make time. Here’s how:
Set goals & deadlines for yourself. Every three months we map out our own Braid goals and projects for ourselves, along with the client work, on our magic chalkboard wall. This helps us set intentions and remember exactly what it is that we wanted to accomplish for ourselves. This might include a new ECourse we’re writing, a website update or a talk we want to prepare. We all know the tendency is to do client work first. And we take that work seriously. But if we don’t take our own work as seriously (i.e.  we don’t write it on the wall) it just won’t get done.
Make appointments with yourself. Planning ahead in general is a great start, but take it a step further into your day-to-day by blocking off time in your calendar to work on your own projects. This could be one hour a day, every day. Or it could be an entire day per week that you block out. The important part is to treat this meeting and time with the same diligence and respect you would for a paying client. 

INVEST MONEY

2. INVEST
Making time to work on your own projects is certainly an investment in your business. Afterall, time is money. But we think that sometimes paying cold hard cash is a catalyst for growth. Here are some worthwhile things you can spend money on:  
Training & Education - Classes, workshops, ECourses, and training are awesome for giving you tools and new perspective that will get your gears turning on how to take your business to the next level. We don’t necessarily think you need more school to be legit but extra training and education can definitely make you feel more confident. And confidence is worth it’s weight in gold.
Consulting & Coaching - whether it’s a life coach or a business coach, having outside input and accountability to grow pays off.  
Traveling & Networking - It may feel indulgent but conferences, retreats, and workshops are money well spent. You will not only make new friends in your industry, you will also develop relationships that lead to income-generating clients. Every conference and retreat I’ve attended has paid for itself and then some from the contacts made.  
Tools & Materials - If your computer has been on its last leg for over a year it’s time to visit the Mac store. Or maybe you’ve outgrown your Canon Rebel and are ready for a 5D so you can start shooting video too. Or perhaps it’s time to finally upgrade from your outdated and pirated software and buy a legit copy of Adobe Creative Suite. Buying the proper tools & materials you need to get the job done efficiently and like a pro is money worth spending.    

PUT IT OUT THERE

3. PUBLISH AND LAUNCH
A lot of my creative coaching clients are waiting until everything is perfect to publish, launch, and leap. But perfect is unattainable. The best way to be your own number one client is to put your stuff out there.  
Hit Publish - there will always be typos to fix or run-on sentences to be refined. It doesn’t matter. Don’t get hung up on it. Just hit publish – you can always go back and edit later.  
Experiment - in our Personal Branding ECourse I talk a bit about passion projects. These are the side projects that you do for yourself. For fun. Experimenting allows you to explore new ideas without the fear of failure. But a cool byproduct of experiments is they often turn into projects you can monetize down the road.  
Launch - I doubt anyone ever feels 100% “ready” before they launch a new business, website, offering, or product. But just like hitting publish sometimes you have to take the leap and tackle rest of the to-dos as you go.  

What are some ways you invest (either in time or money) in your own business? How have you seen it pay off? Let us know on Facebook! 

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Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

You can also read more about dream customer catching in the following blog posts from our archives: 

•  What Creatives Who Attract Dream Clients Do 
•  Our Secret Weapon to Manifesting Money
• Being an Expert Means Getting Daringly Narrow

READ MORE FROM BRAID >

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